The government has transported more than 120,000 returning overseas Filipino workers to their respective provinces, the labor department reported on Tuesday.

Citing a report from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the number of OFWs being sent home continues to rise as more Covid-affected migrant workers are repatriated to the country.

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said 122,369 OFWs had so far been assisted and sent to their home provinces since May by land and sea transport arranged by the agency.

He said 2,369 OFWs took their rides home from the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange on the eve of the return of the National Capital Region to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine on Monday.

“We will not get tired of assisting our returning OFWs, and facilitate their transport to the provinces and be with their families. This is just a small way to repay their enormous contribution to our country,” Bello said.

The labor chief also said the labor department has almost exhausted the P2.5-billion AKAP assistance fund being extended to both on-site and repatriated OFWs affected by the pandemic.

As of August 2, Bello said DOLE’s foreign and regional offices had disbursed a total of P2.324 billion to 22,714 land-based and sea-based OFWs. The agency has also approved the assistance request of 261,543 OFWs. The available fund is meant for 250,000 beneficiaries.

AKAP is a one-time cash aid of P10,000 or $200 for affected OFWs who had sought the assistance via Dole

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